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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

One-on-one time

Every kid needs a little bit of one-on-one time once in a while.  After a particularly emotional day with the kids, I decided to get a sitter and take each kid on a 30 minute date to get a treat and talk about whatever they wanted.

I left 2 of the kids with the sitter and took the other one to get a treat of their choice, and then after 30 minutes switched.  It worked great.  It was just what these kids needed.

This cute 6 year old wanted a donut, so I took him to Krispy Kreme.  He loved it.

Jamba Juice was the treat of choice for my favorite 10 year old.

My sweet Lily wanted a "pink shake" so I took her over to McDonalds for her treat.

I am so glad I did this I may make it a weekly event.  It's amazing what a little one-on-one time does for a kid.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Homemade butter and muffins

For our fun activity on this day we made homemade butter and muffins together.

I let them choose the muffin mix when we went grocery shopping together at the beginning of the week.  (They chose Lemon Poppyseed.  These muffins were incredibly delicious.)  Then I let them each do 1 ingredient, and each take turns stirring.  They loved putting the muffin liners in.

Once the muffins were in the oven, we started on the butter.  I couldn't find lids for any of my tiny mason jars (which I highly recommend using) so we used Tupperware containers.  It worked, but leaked just a few drips one time.  I simply poured some heavy whipping cream in and told them to shake shake shake.

I let them watch a show while they shook (with a blanket under in case it leaked).  It takes 10 good minutes of shaking, but since they took breaks as they got tired, after the show the butter was ready to go.

It worked!  They used the butter they had just made to spread on their muffins.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Giant "water bed" outside sensory bag

One of my favorite things about working at my dream job is that I get to do fun things like this with my kids during the day.

I saw this idea here and decided to try it out.  I bought the plastic drop cloth and duck tape at Walmart for under $10 for both.  I bought the drop cloth that is in a 10' roll that rips off into ten 10' squares.  I bought the teal duck tape because I thought it was cute.

Originally I was going to use food coloring like the blog said, but after I thought about how it was likely this thing would leak and I didn't want to ruin 3 kids' clothes by them splashing in food coloring water, I decided to leave the food coloring out of it.  (Good call on my part.)

Despite that my husband didn't think this would work very well, it was a HUGE success!  Everyone loved it, and what I planned on being an hour or two activity literally turned into an all day thing because it was such a big hit.

I started out by unrolling the tarp I bought and taping the perforated edges to prevent water from leaking at them.  I made two 40' x 10' tarps, and folded them each in half to make two 20' by 10' double layered tarps.  I double layered it because my tarps were about the thickness of garbage bags and I was a little skeptical they would hold up with 3 kids running and jumping on them.  (Again, good call on my part.)

I put the 20' x 10' double-layered-tarps on top of each other, and rolled the edges and duck taped in place.  I left a hole at one corner for the hose.  This whole process took about 40 minutes.

Once taped I stuck the hose inside so there were 2 layers on bottom and 2 layers on top, and started to fill it up.  I had the kids show me where the initial leaks were.  We patched them up (there were only 1 or 2) and filled the whole thing up.

Things I learned while filling this up:
1. This thing works best on flat ground.  If you start out on a hill, even a little one, one side will be far more full than the other.
2. Once this starts filling up you really can't move it without it tearing.
3. Once it's filled it's pretty sturdy.  The kids can run, jump, roll, and slide on it and it holds up for a long while (a couple of hours) before it starts leaking enough they are really getting wet.
4. Before it's filled it isn't too sturdy.  Their feet tended to get caught on the plastic and drag and stretch and tear it.  I discovered this quickly and made them wait until it was filled to play on it.
5.  You really don't need food coloring, in fact I wouldn't recommend it.

 This could be the best outside toy I have discovered so far.  They LOVED it.  At first they didn't get wet at all, but the cold water kept them cool in the hot sun.  I told them to go for it and play as rough as they wanted because it was there to have fun, and if it popped we could always turn it into a large slip-n-slide.

They would run across the yard and slide on it.  They would roll and watch the ripples go all the way across what they called the "water bed".

After a couple of hours we started getting a few leaks.  I didn't bother taping them up because they weren't too bad.  The bag stayed full enough to be squishy and fun to run across the yard and jump on all day but after a few hours there was just enough water on top to make it splash as you ran or rolled across.

 This picture (above) was taken after 6 or 7 hours of rough play on it.  You can see where it is leaking and wet, but it still squishy and fun.  Everybody loved it.

We paired this activity with lawn chairs, a couple of rounds of popsicles, a kiddie pool, and a water gun fight.

I heard the boys say multiple times that this was the best day ever, and one of the funnest things they have ever done.

Adventure Time Boys Room Reveal

 When I found out my nephews were going to move in temporarily, I knew I wanted to give them an awesome room to call their own.  The boys love the show Adventure Time, so I decided to give them an "Adventure Time" themed room to make the transition a little easier for them.  Here is the "before" shot of our guest room...

...and the after.  We switched the queen bed for bunk beds to give them each their own space.  I put tons of pictures of them with their family above each of their beds.

The bunk beds have comforters I made to resemble Adventure Time characters Finn and Jake.  They are each reversible so both boys have each character, one on each side.  I embroidered their names on the edge toward the bottom so they know whose is whose.

Here is the Finn side of the comforter (above.)  See the resemblance?

Here is the Jake side of the comforter (above).  Detailed instructions on how to make this comfoter can be found here.

I brought in some cheap plastic drawers for their clothes, and added an Adventure Time poster I found at Walmart.

On top of the drawers I put pictures of our family and an alarm clock.

I put bins on these shelves holding the "boys toys" we have.   I love bins for toy storage because it makes for such easy clean up.

Adding pictures of their family really made the whole room come together.  Pictures really do so much in making a room feel inviting and warm.

The boys love their Adventure Time room!

I'm back...

I haven't blogged in quite a while.  I have several good reasons, the details of which I will save for my personal blog.

Meet my 2 cute nephews.  They will be staying with me for a bit while their parents are at the hospital while their dad fights leukemia.

It's going to be a fun-filled summer.
Stay tuned as I post fun ideas of things to do with your kids this summer.